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San Antonio Probate Blog

As executor, you need to notify all heirs

As an executor, you receive several duties and tasks to complete as you work to administer and close the estate of your loved one. You will gather assets, pay bills and taxes and distribute property. You will also have one vitally important task to complete -- locate all heirs identified in the will and all heirs-at-law.

This can't be that difficult. Right? Well, it could be a challenge if you do not know everyone who may be considered a legal heir. Even if you do know who everyone is, that does not necessarily mean that you know where each individual currently resides.

What traits may help executors through probate administration?

Having the right knowledge and abilities can often make attending to obligations much easier. In particular, individuals who know what to expect when acting as executor during Texas probate administration may find themselves going through the proceedings much more smoothly. Of course, each case is different, and it is not always easy to settle an estate.

When it comes to being an efficient executor, it is best to have the ability to address the many tasks that need handling. Individuals who are trustworthy and financially savvy may have an easier time distributing and protecting assets as necessary. Of course, the person will also need to have the physical and mental capacity to act as executor, so it is often wise for this person to have a substantial likelihood of outliving the testator.

Concerns over undue influence may lead to probate litigation

The loss of a loved one can come with many factors to consider. In some cases, when a person's estate ends up unexpectedly going to a single person, the family may have to consider whether probate litigation could suit the situation. This type of legal action could help families who believe that their loved ones were taken advantage of while in a vulnerable state.

Texas readers may be interested in such a situation that took place in another state. The surviving nieces and nephews of one man filed a lawsuit against the man's former insurance agent after she ended up inheriting the man's estate. She was also appointed as executor of the estate and had been the man's power of attorney agent for health-related decisions.

Out-of-state executors may have concerns over Texas probate

When a loved one who lived in Texas passes away, it can be difficult for surviving family members no matter where they live. Still, a great deal of settling the final estate of the deceased will have to take place in the state of residency. As a result, an out-of-state relative named as executor may feel uncertain about the probate process.

Fortunately, individuals who have been named as executors do not have to go through the legal proceedings alone. They can enlist the help of knowledgeable attorneys who can explain specific state law procedures and also help handle necessary paperwork that may not require a special trip to Texas from the executor. Of course, the exact actions that an executor will need to take depend on the circumstances surrounding the remaining estate.

Digital assets and accounts may play part in probate process

It is common for individuals in Texas and around the world to live much of their lives online. They may utilize online banking, social media accounts, photo storage, shopping accounts and many other conveniences. However, when a person dies, much of that information could be left in limbo if not addressed by surviving loved ones working through the probate process.

Some people may not see the concern over addressing digital assets because they are not tangible. If these accounts are not closed or otherwise addressed in the appropriate manner, they could easily be used by other parties looking to commit fraudulent acts. Some executors may have been given instructions by the decedents on what to do with these accounts, which could make it easier when the time comes to deal with them.

Burt Reynolds's estate plan may help with probate

The information a person leaves in an estate plan can greatly affect how final affairs are settled. Some documents may require probate proceedings, and other planning tools may allow assets to be left out of this process. Whatever the case, families often appreciate having guidance from their loved ones for this situation.

After the recent news that multiple celebrities had died without estate plans, knowing that Burt Reynolds had made his final wishes known may come as some relief to Texas fans. Exact information regarding Reynolds's plans were few as it appears that the late actor utilized a trust to address his assets. However, he also created a will that appoints his niece as the executor of his estate and that specifically omits his son.

For probate to get underway, an executor must be appointed

Through the emotions that can often affect many Texas residents after the death of a loved one, individuals may have to handle a great deal of responsibility. In particular, the executor will need to follow the necessary steps to close the estate. The appointment of this person will take place at the beginning of the probate process.

In many cases, when a will exists, the document will name who the deceased designated to act as executor. Still, the person must be approved by the court. In the event that a will does not exist, the court will appoint a personal representative. Of course, the person appointed can decline to take on the role if he or she does not feel suited to complete the necessary tasks.

Can you step down from the role of executor?

After the passing of a loved one, a person must handle the deceased's final affairs during the probate process. You may already know that this person is commonly referred to as the executor of the estate, but you may not have given much consideration to the idea of taking on this role for a family member's estate yourself.

Still, you may find yourself in a position where a loved one named you as executor without consulting with you first, or perhaps you are a candidate for the role being considered by the court. At first, you may think you have some obligation to take the position, but after learning all the responsibilities and obligations that come with the role, you may not want it.

Company shares at center of probate litigation

Family fights are often a way of life in Texas and across the country. At some point or another, a squabble will break out that may or may not have a simple resolution. After the death of a loved one, family disputes can easily lead to probate litigation if multiple parties disagree on how assets should be distributed.

It was recently reported that the surviving family of a commercial truck dealership founder is facing conflict. The deceased man's son believes that he should inherit shares of stock associated with the dealership that were held by his father. He apparently has a will that his father created in 2006 that indicates such wishes. However, the man's widow believes that she should obtain the shares due to a will that the man allegedly created in 2013.

Time and cost may not be reasons to avoid probate

Many Texas residents may think that since the legal proceedings needed to close an estate can become complicated, they should avoid it at all costs. However, probate does not have to be viewed as a negative process. Additionally, it makes sense for the details of a particular estate to better determine whether avoiding the process may be wise rather than simply viewing it as a mistake.

One concern that some people may have regarding probate is the amount of time it takes to complete. Certainly, it can be time-consuming to settle the affairs of an estate, but, again, the details of the estate will play a role in how long the legal proceedings take. More complex estates may take longer, but many probate cases close within a year. Additionally, probate typically allows a shorter amount of time for creditors to come forward with claims than if probate does not take place.

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC

Aldrich Law Firm, PLLC
909 NE Loop 410
Suite 602
San Antonio, TX 78209

Phone: 210-418-1150
Fax: 210-598-7221

909 NE Loop 410 Suite 602
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